Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 Closing out fast !!!!

Wow !!
Another year has blown by at high speed.
Is it my imagination or are they getting faster.

Another year of experiences, another year of learning, another year !!!
Even with the parts not so great still no complaints from me.

China, Spain, Hong Kong, South Carolina.
Working outside my comfort zone taking pics, meeting people.

This year i pushed myself to get out of that comfort zone when its comes to taking pics.
Meeting new people, making contacts.

Thanks to everyone that endured my lens pointed in their direction and the pop of the flash !

Taking that step last May and hooking up with Hurtin Merv and the Boys
Hurtin Merv -Sunny's

Bender , opening for Moxy Dec 16th at APK Live, London,ON
Bender - Dec 16,2011

another wacky stage layout ! Guest guitarist Guy Miskelly filled in, super amazing chops ! would like to see him again.

Nice shot of Mr Jim McCormick's fabulous Sonor kit, to bad lighting was to rough to show the great color this kit has (yellow) though this B/W image did not hurt it in the slightest. Thinking a planned pic with Jim and his kit would be kinda cool and something new to try.

Though have to say that Moxy was a let down after seeing Goddo. No question about the talent or abilities, but music wise just didn't feel it. And from a personality point of view Goddo was way ahead. Still nice getting out to see some people play

Guitarist - Earl Johnson (Moxy) and Bassist - Jim Sanson (Zon)

Russ Graham (Killer Dwarfs)

Drums - Kim Hunt (Zon) and Bassist - Jim Sanson (Zon)

Had opportunities to take pics of  Longway , Nail, Scott Brunelle, Moe Chile.

U-Turn playing Rib Fest this past summer.

Finally found out who these guys were playing at Gathering on The Green in Wortley Village, earlier in the summer.  They were laying down SRV in a big way, solid !!!
Tim Woodcock and the Thunder Kings

Tim Woodcock - guitar , Jim Corbett - Bass and Ed Pranskus - Drums

Thank you , Rick and Chuck from Twisted Rock Starz , giving me a chance and granting me access to Goddo and Moxy for pics and more to come.

Girls who let me take their pics, Princess Vicky, Miss Katie, Tracey, Eden

Miss Tracey was in for some pics, part of her making changes to herself and recording it all as she proceeds. Thinking once she has achieved her goal , I can put together a series of pics showing her progress.

Of course managed the obligatory "Girl With Bass" photo to post online with others. The Cort Curbow always looks good when held gentle embrace of a woman.

Also had Miss Katie back in the "Studio" with her friend Kathryn, taking pics for a Xmas Gift Calendar for Kathryn's soon to be husband.

I managed to get a pic of Kathryn, using the Canon 5D. That camera seems to have something special when it comes to taking portraits. If you have done your homework with settings etc. 

Patrick ! ha The Peavey 5 String will never be the same after being 'manhandled'

The Bay and Sheseido gave me a chance to be part of what they offer their customers. As part of a promotion, select customers received a package consisting of a makeup session with Isaac and then photo's.  Once everything has been approved by Sheseido I will post some here to see. Chances are if everyone is happy this could be an ongoing opportunity for me. More on that one in the new year.

Lotus Thai Restaurant in St Thomas, I had spoken about this place and ladies that run it all. Finally had the chance to go out and take some pics of the great food they create onsite.

Lotus Thai

My last pics of the year will be with Hurtin Merv and The Boys playing the Wortley Roadhouse this coming Friday.
Its a cougar fest there and being a Friday and a New Years weekend should be quite the fun. Am sure some candid photo's be taken.

Cannot resist showing the great Green Xmas we had down here in London, and maybe not much different for a lot of you out there. Went for my annual Xmas day walk, covered 12km and took a few pics along the way, this one from Springbank Park,London,ON

And of course how could we pass a week or even a day with out a Starbucks coffee pic !!

Am now waiting for my GOLD membership card after keeping myself well caffeined for the last few months - took 25 coffee's to get there. All that so i can get a free one on my birthday , oh ya and refills !

Will  break into the New Year and 2012 gently. No muss , no fuss.
I have an idea for a final pic for the year, but will see what the weather is doing on the 31st to see if we can make it happen.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

My Canons Back and there's gonna be pictures ! (sung to the tune "My Boyfriends Back - The Angels"

She is back from repair, cleaning and firmware upgrade !
looking shiny and new with the wonderfully gooey Canon 50mm f/1.4 mounted on front.

Definitely a difference between that and the T1i !

That Canon 50mm f1/1.4 can be fun lens to play with on the right occasion, this is great example of Bokeh , Japanese for blur or asthetic quality of the blur.  Only really possible with this type of lens at this close to the subject.
Rain drops on the car window with some stop lights in the background.

Last few weeks has been kinda quiet. Though did get out to see and listen to Moe Chile  play at Coffee Culture, Richmond St,London ON.

Moe Chile

Moe Chile

Truly great guitar player and singer, and part of a duo called "The Gate".   Did a handful of original material as well as some Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd.  He was a connection through other musicians and Facebook.

Moe plays a Carperelli Spirit of 69 in Zebra wood - beautiful piece of wood !!

Only other fun was honorable mention for a photo contest run by Black Rapid Straps (i have one). Nice product that you sling over your shoulder or neck and lets you carry a DSLR and big lens with ease and little fatigue. If you have a big camera and are using the supplied strap, you know how after a day of wanking that around your neck, your ready to drop the whole thing in the nearest dumpster and get  Point and Shoot (small camera). 
It was received for the sunset pic taken at Goderich,ON

You have seen a few pics of me wearing mine.

Here with the Canon T1i and Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8

Car Free Sunday London Sept 2010

An alternative to the Black Rapid is a new product I found at Vistek, called the Matin Fast Access Strap. Basically a Chinese clone of the Black Rapid but with neoprene shoulder pad. Little less money and i like the neoprene pad.

Next on the photo agenda is The Lotus Thai Restaurant in St. Thomas,ON.  Had met them at one of the festivals in London this summer, a food purchased turned into would you take pics someday.

V.K. and Pom run the show there.
Try to take some good pics of their food so they can use on their website.  Will be working for food. That's next week , so looking forward to that , something to put on the portfolio.  And maybe credit for free meals haha.

Just a short update, more to come next week after food pics.  And Xmas is around the corner.

Till then....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

My Baby ! My Baby !

Ah the weekend !
Friday was one of those days ya just didn't feel , was a blah day and add some tired to the mix.
Though I had pics planned with Hurtin Merv at Sunny's Bar in St Thomas,ON

So go through the usual routine.
Charge batteries, erase memory cards, pack up my bag for some what ifs, pack the right lens.
Was planning to use the Canon 5D as primary and then Canon T1i as backup.
The T1i does better at higher ISO.

So did a few test shots, kind getting camera's setup...........

Then the funny sound !
Not so funny actually.
Viewfinder went black on the Canon 5D and there was the sound of loose change in the body.
quick pulled the lens off to find the mirror inside , floating around loose.

The silver thing (the mirror) should be sitting happily attached to the inside of the camera.

And you will say "Well Doug that's what you get for buying 6yr old used camera on Kijiji"
Your right.

Quick check of the web and 'Bingo', Canon released a Warranty Recall for this exact problem, and will ship and repair the problem at no charge !!  Can you say "Wheeewwwwww" (wiping sweat from brow)

That left me using the T1i last night and will say that there is noticeable difference, besides the size and weight.  Picture quality of the T1i is not what i seem to get from the 5D, cant explain it
A fellow photographer (and Nikon D40 user) wants to switch to Canon, in their words "Canon is softer" and maybe thats what i am seeing on the 5D. Who knows.

So few pics of Merv and we were out of there, boys were in fine form and having a good time.
Truly enjoy going out to see them.

Merv of course was doing what Merv does best, keeping the crowd happy !

This morning was attempt at food pic using flash instead of the window light. And after a little reading managed something that I am happy with (for the moment).

This is all in prep for pics at Lotus Thai Restaurant in St Thomas,ON, I had met Pom and V.K. through mutal friend and enjoyed there food at the restaurant and at local events. Nice people !!
And their food deserve some pics that will showcase what they have going on there.
Watch for update on that.

Just a piece of simple cake.

Trick is getting that flash over to the side, low and bouncing some light back in with a white card or piece of paper.

Manged to get some texture and nice look. Will keep on this, could be another nice little niche market for pic taking. 
I kinda like the idea trade pics for food !!
Now if only I could trade pics for personal training time ??

Sunday, November 20, 2011

November Gone !!

Hard to imagine but another year has passed us by !

December is around the corner, as of right now 34 days, give or take depending on what country you are in.

Life has been kinda normal, working, sleeping, taking pics.

This past week had the opportunity to see and hear Goddo, Canadian  rock legends from the 70's and 80's. They played at Downtown Kathy Browns, in London,ON.
Nice location downtown Dundas St but not really setup for bands, less than desirable lighting, wacky stage layout, but dont matter with the right act playing.

Opening act was Scott Brunelle , local guy from Aylmer,ON. Truly amazing guitar player , song writer.

Next up was NAIL local Progressive Rock group. Really talented players and great set of original material.
The lead singer Cindy is a real powerhouse and energy to spare, she knows how to work it !!

Rainer can play !! Great sound out of his Flying V , formerly of Helix and owner of Mole Studios here in London. Surprising the talent you find in a town sometimes.

Backed up by solid rhythm section of Darcy on bass and Dale on drums. I want to see them play at a better venue and will be looking for a copy of their CD.

Headline of course was Goddo !

I had never seen them , never owned an album or cd, so for me after hearing about them for the last 30 years and then seeing them play was awesome.  Greg Godovitz (bass)is now in his 60's,

wont even guess the age of Gino Scarpelli (guitar)

or Doug Inglis(drums),

what I saw and heard was effortless playing combined with great stage presence. And even though the crowd was small, Goddo played it up  like it was Massey Hall.

Best part was meeting Rick and Chuck of Twisted Rock Starz Productions , who brought Goddo to town and will have Toronto 70's hard rock act Moxy here December 16th. What its given me is access to shows for pics, new network of people and bands and more oppurtunity to hone my craft and get my skills up so it becomes effortless.  These are two really good guys, working hard to bring acts to London. Keep up the great work !!

This night I alternated between the Canon T1i and the Canon 5D. My worry on the 5D was not being comfortable with what I see on the back screen. though once downloaded to camera was pleasantly surprised by the results. Of course Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens dont hurt either. Though the Canon 24-105mm f/4 with IS did really well. Biggest problem was trying not to blind people onstage trying to pour some light in there to make up for the crappy stage lights. Trust me its tough taking pics in a black room with a few lights lighting up the stage.
Also spent a few moments with a lady named Marni on how to use her camera to take pics, she had great little Lumix camera. Got her in Manual mode, high ISO and she was rocking, always up for sharing what i know, am sure I will learn something back.

Other fun has been trying my hand at food photography. Using natural light from the kitchen window and a white bounce card (big piece of white paper).

 The big piece of white paper (foam core from Michaels) is used to bounce light from the window back into the bowl, so the left side is lit up a bit. Very simple way to add light for pennies.

Also did pics of Patrick who is training, so we did before pics and in a few months, after pics to follow. That update later. Also on the horizon is fashion event at The Bay and possibly a day of taking before/after pics at the cosmetic counter of The Bay.  More experience the better, and as I enjoy portrait taking great way again to practice. The challenge is making up a mini-studio in a large exclusive department store. great fun

Plans in the works now for trip to India in the new new year, to do the needful. Other than that its regular life, waiting for tomorrow.

later !

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Say Hello to my Little Friend !! (Al Pacino - Scarface)

Well made that jump !
Into the world of the big guns, quality and precision manufacturing, along with a pound of magnesium frame combined with another 1.5lbs of Canon 4L gooey goodness.

Picked up a Canon 5D.

Originallyreleased in 2005, and then later followed up by the dream machine the Canon 5D Mark II. This 12.5mpix Full Frame piece of happiness has made it into my hands.

Have to love Kijiji !!
This 5D came with the Canon 24-105mm 4L IS USM lens, if anything this purchase was about that lens, just to bad it had a camera attached to it.

L series lenses are the lens of choice when it comes to Canon. This is their premiere lineup of lens, high quality glass and combined with IS (Image Stabilizer) and very fast focus, makes it a real addition to the lineup.

It is just over 3 pounds of camera happiness, without the grip installed ! Its hefty and feels ultra solid in the hands.

And noticeably bigger when compared side by side the Canon T1i.

I could have easily gone out and blown $4000 on this setup by picking up the new Mark II and the same lens, but why when there are so many good used camera's on the market for a fraction of the price.
This one is no exception, forget the pixel count or the lack of a good screen on the back, this camera is about taking pictures, not video, not live shooting like a point and shoot. Setup it up wrong and it will deceive you, do it right and the results will come.

And of course it came with, wait for it.......another freaking camera bag !!
Holding it all is a Lowepro Classified 200 AW - just what i needed another big camera bag to haul stuff around in. yikes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Rebuilding of the Square

If you recall from past post on Aug 20th, 2011 I was taking my first (and maybe only plunge) into wedding photography.  Out in Dutton area, west of London, just as we finished taking the last picture , the rain started, and by the time we got back to the reception area it was pouring solid. End of the worl d kinda rain.

That was only a small hint of the storm system that was getting ready to roll in from the north across Lake Huron and pummel the town of Goderich, Ontario , about an hour north of London.

View Larger Map

Over the last now 15 years of living in Southern Ontario, I have either driven through or spent a day in Goderich. Sat at the outdoor patio of the Bedford Hotel, located on The Square of downtown. The Square surrounds the Municipal Courthouse and was home to many festivals and open air markets.

Sorry had to borrow an image of The Square from the web -courtesy of (thank you). take note of how many trees surround this photo of the old court house, not much was differnet when i had visited in the past.

On Aug 21st , 2011 that all changed when at aprox. 4pm a tornado touched down in Goderich, causing severe damage to local business, homes and all but clearing every tree around The Square.

Here is my pic of The Square on Sunday Oct 10th, 2011 - there are maybe 3 trees left on the far side of the courthouse, mostly protected by the building.

The reason I had traveled there on Sunday was that the previous night I went out to take pics for one of many "Rebuilding the Square" events being held to give aid to the town of Goderich in the spirit of rebuilding this area. Hopefully back to some of it former glory, though as we know, will be some time before trees cover that space again and offer the shade they once did.

A 133yr old church after the roof was torn off .
From the looks of it they are trying to restore it, the trusses were still intact and stored on the ground while they resolve the structural issues.

The event I attended was in the town of Exeter, about half way to Goderich along highway 4, at the South Huron Recreational Centre.  My interest was that Hurton Merv and the boys would be out playing a few numbers along with a few other local bands, so more exposure for me and chance to meet some new people.

Was a good time, between local highschool, big band, jazz band and rock acts there was quite a spread of music. Unfortunatley attendance was low, though they had sold over 500 tickets and made $3k on silent auction. Not bad for a small town on a Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend.

Of course Merv was out making friends as only Merv can do. What is it with singers in rock bands ???

Booze Hounds got things started up after the easy listening start to the night. High Energy non-stop barrage. I dont think they had one break between tunes.  Great stuff !!

Followed up by Hurtin Merv and the Boys doing what they do best.  They know how to get people out on the dance floor and keep them there.

Mr Terry , White Strat  in hand cutting through.

After a good set, Sarah Todgham joined them onstage for a few numbers and then sang a few solo songs.

Next up Bender, great players , big sound. Look forward to hearing them in smaller place that is not so much the empty gym sound that was going on that night.

Was thinking as I started writing in here just now, that most of us that were bred, born and lived in Canada all our life. dont really know or have experienced any natural disaster to this magnitude. We live in fairly dense communities well sheltered from it all.
Not saying we don't have it happen as anyone living on the East or West Coasts will tell you. Just we don't experience this in the Montreal or Toronto's of Canada.  OK the occasional ice storm knocks out the power or someone flips a switch in the USA and we survive for 3-4 days with no power (remember that blackout).  i have lived most of my adult life in Northern and Southern Ontario, nothing happens here. It snows to hard stay home. 

So next time your sitting in your home while it rains or snows outside, in comfy London,ON or Sudbury,ON, Toronto or Shippenville,PA and you dont worry about what will happen next, think about those people that live in areas that get hit all the time.   Southern US states that get pummeled by Hurricanes and Tornado's.  The Philippines in the midst of non-stop typhoons for last few weeks. The flooding that happens in Southern China every year, washing away roads,towns and people. Japan !!

I ended my time in Goderich by going down to the beach area on Lake Huron, all redeveloped in the last few years and really nice.  Plenty of parking, great play areas and the most spectacular sunsets.

Of course took the usual array of pics as the sun set down over Lake Huron.

And then out of no where a guy poling himself along the shoreline, riding some sort of flat board maybe a big surf board.

Maybe something he does every day , who knows.
Struck me that considering whats happened to Goderich this year (and other places around the world) how life had returned to some what normal, people doing what they always do, out walking, sitting on the benches, sitting in the cars, watching that sun set, one more time on the day.

Was a calm moment on the water. A calm moment watching him go by.

A very lucky moment to catch him in the sun that way.  my pic of the year so far.